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House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood, Title X

The Party of Spite strikes again. The Republican-controlled House voted Friday to de-fund not only Planned Parenthood, but all Title X funds for clinics that perform abortions:

If the resolution goes into law, the 95-year-old health care provider will lose funding from the federal government, all of which goes to family planning and reproductive services under Title X, and none of which goes to funding abortions.

It will also eliminate the entire Title X program, which was founded in 1970 and is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and preventive health services, particularly to low-income families, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs. Preventative health services include breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV prevention education, pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. [American Independent]

So, self-proclaimed “anti-abortionists” are cheering to de-fund contraception for low-income women. Title X serves approximately 5 million Americans and prevents an estimated 800,000 abortions a year. Not one penny of Title X money, nor any other federal cash, funds elective abortions, thanks to the Hyde Amendment of 1976.

Anti-choicers will try to explain that the proposed cuts are really about abortion, rather than contraception. Contraception is popular. People don’t want to hear that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) wants to force them to choose between celibacy and parenthood.

When confronted with the fact that federal family planning programs do not fund elective abortions, anti-choicers will argue that money is “fungible,” i.e., that every dollar Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to spend on PAP smears is a dollar left over for abortions. Ergo, cutting off money for birth control is cutting off money for abortions, even if the totally foreseeable consequence of starving birth control is more abortions!

The fungibility argument is totally specious. Both Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church get federal money to deliver approved programs and services, that doesn’t mean the taxpayer is underwriting abortions or Catholicism. 

So, self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” are trying to de-fund a program that saves taxpayers money. A dollar spent on family planning for low-income Americans saves $4.02 on health care for pregnant women and infants, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute. That’s not even counting the money saved through STD prevention, for example, or the early detection of cervical cancer.

House Republicans are willing to see the abortion rate skyrocket in a pathetic attempt to punish poor people for having sex. To add insult to injury, they are asking U.S. taxpayers to subsidize their crusade by spending at least four times as much on the costs of unplanned pregnancy as we would have on contraception and preventive care. Worst of all, they are indifferent to the health, hopes, and dreams of the 5 million Americans.

Any member who voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Title X forfeits any claim to be anti-abortion or fiscally conservative.


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